Scams Offering to Sell Festivals' Customer Data Highlight Ongoing Battle for Privacy

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Outside Lands, Øya and Tramlines festivals were affected by hoaxes for attendee information

There's a new grift in town: Email scammers are selling fake attendee lists for major music festivals to marketers. One victim is the San Francisco-based Outside Lands Festival, Aug. 9-11, where the nearly-retired Paul Simon will play one of his final solo shows.

In an email obtained by Billboard, senders named "Jessica and Regina Thomas" wrote to an undisclosed list of music industry marketing professionals, saying: “We have updated Outside Lands 2019 Attendees List and we now have a total of 60,159 contacts who are attending Outside Lands 2019 event. Would you be interested in purchasing the list of Attendees with complete contact information for your future prospect, networking and various other post and pre-show Marketing initiatives.” According to the email, the alleged list would provide every attendee's full name, company, job title, email address, phone number and mailing address. 

"This is a total scam," a representative from Another Planet, which owns Outside Lands, told Billboard.  

Ploys for consumer data are pervasive. One week earlier, music trade publication IQ Mag reported that it received similar offers for attendee contact information for major festivals like Norway’s Øya Festival and the UK’s Tramlines festival. Regulatory bodies such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act have become necessary to guard private information and keep the businesses collecting it accountable for its security. 

Billboard responded to the initial email and was introduced to a "Chad Sanders," vp of sales for a company called Events Info Group. Sanders requested payment of $498, promising “100% accuracy on all contact information” and insisted that “lists are delivered for your unlimited usage.” According to the email, lists would be delivered in XLS or CSV format. 

The Events Info Group website says it's "a specialist international event organizer" and touts 100% success banner. The contact phone number provided is not in service. Events Info Group also links to a number of dubious-looking websites including B2B Data Shop, The Eventys and Star Vertex, which all have vague business descriptions, identical stock images and duplicate testimonials.

The Better Business Bureau, a consumer protection nonprofit organization, received multiple complaints about the various businesses including B2B and Star Vertex. “This company is fraudulent," wrote one consumer review. "They will promise material they are not able to, and will not, deliver. Stay away and save your money ... Once my payment cleared, they stopped responding to my emails and phone calls. They employ fake reviews and social media accounts to make them seem legitimate -- they are not."

 


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